April 19th 2018. A perfect day. After the endless winter summer has suddenly arrived. It’s a Contemplative Garden afternoon when I invite people to come to my garden and just ‘be’ for an hour or two. No phones, no screens, just a few people enjoying quiet time together, tuning in to the life of the garden.
Sitting in a secluded corner, just looking, my attention is caught by a simple Forget-me-not. Usually regarded by me as a weedy opportunist, not worthy of very close examination, I discover its minute perfection. Today the sky is exactly the same colour as the tiny blue flowers, the contrasting sunny yellow centres surrounded rays of pure white, like little stars. The clusters of flowers are supported by soft green rather hairy stems that hold them up to the light and the pollinating insects. They are not special but they are exquisite and and the Forget-me-nots, like us are just ‘being’.
Then I see a tiny ant laboriously dragging another ant through the long grass. I wonder where they are going. My attention is now entirely in the garden. I see more and more insects going about their business, among them at least three kinds of butterfly. Now that I’m listening the birdsong is really loud and quite insistent. Of course this is London and there are other sounds too, distant traffic, the ubiquitous aeroplanes, as well as children playing next door, but I’m beginning to get a feeling of the silence under the dome of the blue sky. The silence in which the sounds can happen.
It occurs to me that the sounds and activities of the animals and plants on this little patch of ground have been happening for thousands of years, at least since the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. Mankind’s participation is recent and maybe will prove to be ephemeral but here in my garden I can feel part of that continuity of life on earth. It’s a good feeling.
I wonder how the others are getting on. Time for a cup of tea!